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Human resource analysts typically collect data, prepare reports, and give advice in the realm of employee relations and benefits. Most companies and businesses have human resources, or HR, departments that handle pretty much all aspects of the employee-employer relationship. This can include hiring practices, payroll and benefits decisions, and promotions and terminations, among other things. The biggest thing that differentiates an analyst from an ordinary administrator is the focus on overarching data interpretation. Where an administrator is usually charged with setting and enforcing policies, the analyst looks at how well they’re working and how they align with the policies of other similar companies in the region or sector. Some large companies keep analysts on staff to keep tabs on regular functioning and to look for everyday efficiencies. More often, these professionals work for consulting firms and are hired on a per-project basis, usually for businesses looking for occasional audits and review. Analysts in either capacity typically do similar work, and their main focus areas usually encompass benefits, compensation, recruitment, and legal compliance.
A human resource analyst typically works closely with the personnel and staff of the HR department with an eye to understanding and maximizing processes and evaluation standards. Also known as HR specialists, these workers may be entry-level or they may be more senior-level HR professionals who therefore have more and more important responsibilities. Entry-level HR analysts might simply help manage and organize employee files and conduct other general office tasks whereas more senior HR specialists might do more in the way of providing executive summaries and overviews of existing trends, as well as making proposals for possible future changes or adjustments.
Many companies provide their employees with a benefits package that includes things like health insurance, investment opportunities, and retirement or pension compensation. Depending on the size of the company and the age of its workforce, these expenses can be significant. They’re important to retaining and attracting a talented workforce, but they can also be costly if not managed well. Many analysts work fully or at least tangentially on benefits packages, looking for efficiencies and studying ways of lowering costs without negatively impacting employees.
Another common analyst responsibility is related to employee compensation. Evaluating things like pay scales, rates of salary increase, and bonus incentives is often part of this, as are issues of income equality, namely measuring the difference between the salaries of the lowest and highest paid employees. Questions of gender and age equality are typically considered, too. Analysts are often just looking for data, but if they notice problems or disparities they may also be asked to propose a few possible fixes. Since this type of HR work deals directly with finances, analysts typically find it useful to have some financial expertise or education.
Recruitment is another common sub-department within HR, and analysts with this focus usually spend the majority of their time evaluating a company’s hiring, interviewing, and job offer process. Sometimes they’re interested in whether the process is fair and legal, but more often the target is more about efficiency, and figuring out whether the company is using the right tactics to attract the best clients.
Employee disputes and legal compliance also often fall within the purview of Human Resources, and analysts often look at this sort of information, too. In particular, they’re often interested in how many complaints are filed each quarter, each period, or each year, and how long they take to resolve. The aggregate expense of legal claims and employee disputes is also something usually considered in this category.
Most people get started in this profession by first building up an expertise in HR more generally. Often this means that they’re working as HR administrators or staff members in a company. It’s also possible to approach analysis from a more economic standpoint. These people are usually more focused on statistical approaches and numbers-driven data sets. People from both backgrounds usually begin as junior analysts, often working on teams, and only later mature into more independent responsibilities.
While not all human resource analysts must be certified to practice in the profession, most do choose to earn formalized HR certifications, the requirements for which tend to vary from place to place. Analysts in many markets may also have an option to go further in their studies and complete what’s known as the Senior HR Certification (SHRC).
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